Gabe Urrutia has worked in different roles in the hospitality world for over 20 years and considers it a privilege that he was able to do it all in the city that inspires him the most, Miami. In his previous roles, he has conducted more than 150 training sessions for bartenders, while drawing on his creativity and knowledge to develop over 100 fresh and exciting cocktail menus. Gabe was also a finalist for St. Germain’s Can Can competition in 2011 and the National Dekuyper Challenge winner in 2016.
Born in Miami to parents from Cuba and Chile, Gabe embraces his Hispanic roots in everything he does. In 2004, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida International University, an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Nova Southeastern University in 2014. He also attained the BarSmarts Advanced certification as well as the Certified Spirits Specialist certification from the Society of Wine Educators. He is also Level 1 from Court of Master Sommeliers and WSET Level 1.
Before broadening his horizons, Gabe got his start in the spirits industry in South Florida as a Brand Ambassador for Anheuser Busch, focusing on sales and marketing. At the age of 28, he was nominated and shortlisted for “Young Achiever of The Year” at the London International Wine Fair 2009 by The Drinks Business. He was the only nominee from the United States. In 2019, he was selected as one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers of America and most recently started a show, Time With Tastemakers, chatting with anyone and everyone in the food and beverage world. Also in the same year, Gabe wrote Miami’s first cocktail book in history, Miami Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Magic City. Miami Cocktails was recently selected as a 2020 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award Honoree. In addition, Gabe has been featured in Chilled Magazine, Town & Country Magazine, Miami New Times, Deco Drive, NBC6, Wine Enthusiast, and Edible South Florida, to name a few.
He loves what he does. Gabe mentions, “My job is not work. It’s my passion. I love what I do. I have been living a dream job as my career.” What started as a hobby has turned into a successful career in the beer, wine and spirits world. And now, he wants to show others that they can do the same. Most recently, he began an Adjunct/Lecturer position at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.
“A conversation I like to have every semester with the students is about what you love about the hospitality world. We’re all different; some like creating cocktails while others like to focus on events or marketing. This world has so much to offer, and I love to explore that with the students.”
The pandemic offered Gabe a different perspective on it all. As the world came to a halt, so did events and tastings. Yet, he still sought to find a way to give. He began working with nonprofits and local organizations to offer virtual cocktail classes and tastings. He worked with FIU, The United Way of Miami-Dade, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and the History Miami Museum, to name a few.
“I noticed that during the pandemic, people still had a hunger for experiences and began embracing the virtual platform to get together and toast. It was such a weird time, but I think it offered a place to get their minds off what was happening in the world.”
All in all, he wants to give back to the industry so much that was given to him. “I was given the lucky chance to be a part of such a special community, and I want to find others with that same passion.” You can find Gabe in Miami on any given night, visiting friends. Feel free to check him out on Instagram for recommendations on anything Miami.